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Is your home constantly set to a 'sexist' temperature? You're not alone | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 04:00

A new study finds men tend to get their way in household temperature discussions while women must compromise

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My heart sinks every time I hear women called ‘gutsy’ or ‘badass’ | Emma Brockes

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 02:00

Both celebrate outspoken achievers – as Hillary Clinton does – but they’ve been hijacked, too, to sell meaningless promises

When I joined the Guardian, many years ago, one of the first notes I received was about the use of “feisty”: it was banned by the style guide in relation to women. Feisty, I was told, was fundamentally patronising: one of those words, like spirited or special, that in certain circumstances seems euphemistically to undermine its own meaning. I used it once in print and never again.

No one says feisty any more. But its modern iterations – “badass” and “kick-ass” – are as prevalent as ever, and seem ripe if not for retirement then at least for revision. Badass, in its original form, was 1950s American slang for tough guy. Now it is often used to evoke a woman’s uncompromising stance, irrespective of context. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a badass, as is Wonder Woman. Beyoncé is a badass, of course, as I guess was Margaret Thatcher. There are no criteria other than a sort of mouthy prominence, so that, while it might be weird to call a man at the top of certain professions a “tough guy” (unless you’re Donald Trump addressing the Turkish president), for women badass is a near-universal term of praise.

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Watford FC’s loos are top of the league | Brief letters

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 07:08
Women’s toilets | Hangover cures | Narrow boat offer | The Queen

Great to see the call to architects and planners for potty parity (The queue for the ladies’ loo is a feminist issue, Journal, 14 November). Maybe we can also ask them to situate the pan off centre in each of the ladies’ cubicles, so the user’s thigh doesn’t have to have such a close relationship with the sanitary bin.
Alison Whitehouse
East Barnet, London

• One place where I gleefully skip past a very long line of men queueing for the loo in the knowledge that my own wait will be considerably shorter is at Watford FC. The women’s loos there are spotlessly clean, provide free sanitary products, and, most intriguingly, no mirrors! They’re top of the league in my books.
Liz O’Connell
St Albans, Hertfordshire

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Hollywood's gender divide laid bare by analysis of this season's Oscar contenders

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 05:38

Exclusive: Data on this year’s awards contenders reveals three youngest best actor hopefuls have never made a film with a female director

Striking contrasts in the choices of male and female awards contenders – and their potential impact on gender parity in Hollywood – have been uncovered by the Guardian.

The three youngest men likely to be in the race for next year’s best actor Oscar have never worked on a film directed by a woman, while the category’s frontrunner, Joaquin Phoenix, has worked with a female director only once during his 34-film career.

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World's first vagina museum to open in London

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 02:03

Muff Busters exhibition begins in Camden in hope of tackling myths on ‘taboo’ body parts

In a bright indoor space in Camden’s Stables Market, a giant tampon is flanked by giant menstrual cups. Illustrations of female genitalia are dotted around the walls and some underwear is in a glass case.

This is the world’s first vagina museum dedicated to gynaecological anatomy, which opens this weekend in north-west London.

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Suffragist outrage: Winston Churchill struck with a dog whip - archive, 15, November 1909

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 19:00

15 November 1909: Suffragist attacks the President of the Board of Trade at Bristol railway station, cutting his face with a lash

Mr Winston Churchill was the victim of a disgraceful outrage by a militant suffragist at Bristol on Saturday, when a woman, said to be Miss Theresa Garnett, of Leeds, broke through a cordon of police on the railway station platform and struck Mr Churchill with a dog-whip. She aimed the first blow at his head, the lash cutting his face. Mr Churchill seized her and was able to secure the whip after a struggle. The police then took the woman into custody.

Related: From the archive: Another scene at the Commons

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Missouri took ‘extreme actions’ to limit reproductive rights, House panel hears

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 11:18

Tracking patients’ periods and medically unnecessary pelvic exams amount to ‘state-sponsored abuse’, says congresswoman

Missouri health officials’ efforts to shut down the last abortion clinic within state borders are “a denial of basic healthcare services”, the New York congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said at a House oversight committee hearing on Thursday.

Missouri took “extreme actions” to limit reproductive rights, the panel heard. Tactics included tracking patients’ periods and medically unnecessary pelvic exams, amounting to “state-sponsored abuse”, Maloney said.

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Surprised that women are still struggling for equal pay? You shouldn’t be | Linda Scott

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 07:23

On Equal Pay Day, let’s confront the real reason women are paid less – employers know that a successful challenge is incredibly unlikely

If a national government stood aside for five decades while the legal rights of half its citizens were heedlessly trampled, one might expect it to lose the public’s trust. Yet that is exactly why British women endure a massive gender pay gap – and no one seems to notice.

This year, 14 November is Equal Pay Day. Because of the gender pay gap, this is the last day until January that women in the UK are paid to work. The data spells out clearly who is underpaid, but does not reveal the real reason why millions of female workers are unfairly compensated. Women aren’t paid equally because, in practice, British law does not protect them – and their employers know it.

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Who's the daddy? Paternity mixed up in cities, study finds

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 07:15

Illegitimacy more likely over past 500 years among urban poor, say geneticists

The Romans had a phrase that summed it up nicely: mater semper certa est, pater semper incertus est. The mother is always certain, the father is always uncertain.

Now, researchers have found that some people have more reason to doubt their fathers than others, or at least have had over the past half millennium.

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Family planning schemes must offer options other than abortion, says US

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 03:18

Campaigners urge global action on reproductive rights as US comments embolden anti-choice groups at Nairobi summit

The US will only support family planning programmes that offer alternatives to abortions, a senior policy adviser has told a conference in Nairobi.

In a statement that has emboldened anti-choice groups in the city, Valerie Huber, the US special representative for global women’s health, also told a summit on population and development that her country sought to combat gender-based violence by investing in programmes that respected the rights of women and girls, but didn’t compromise “the inherent value of every human life – born and unborn”.

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Could job sharing solve universities' big gender pay gap problem? | Emma Watton and Sarah Stables

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 00:39

Job sharing is often still seen by university employers as weak management or a special favour. Attitudes must change

This year’s Equal Pay Day falls on 14 November. It’s the day women in the UK effectively start working the remainder of the year for free because of the gender pay gap. There are differences between sectors and industries but education is among the worst, with a pay gap of 25.9% as opposed to the national average of 17.9%. This means that a woman employed in education works, on average, 95 days a year without being paid.

This is a problem across the education system, but is particularly bad in leadership. Despite increases in recent years only 27% of university vice-chancellors and chairs of the governing bodies which run universities are women. There is similar underrepresentation of women leading academic faculties and schools.

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The queue for women's toilets is a feminist issue | Lezlie Lowe

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 22:00

Simple equality is not enough in the provision of public toilets – women use them for longer, and have more reasons to

Public toilet visits are sometimes urgent. But imagine the urgency of the presidential-nominee hopeful Hillary Clinton when she was caught short, mid-commercial break, during a Democratic debate in 2015. Clinton, the lone woman on the stage, had to walk a little further to get to the women’s loo than her male opponents, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley. It might have been no more than a minor inconvenience, had Clinton not been on a deadline and the toilet in question not been occupied when she arrived. Sanders and O’Malley each returned from their relatively shorter trips, leaving them time to collect themselves.

Meanwhile, Clinton stood waiting to use the toilet. The seconds ticked away and the live televised debate resumed, as live televised debates must. A few moments later, Clinton strode back into the camera frame and took her podium, saying a simple “sorry” to the 6.7 million TV viewers.

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I lift weights. For a South Asian woman, that’s just not seen as normal | Poorna Bel

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 21:00

Cultural barriers make it difficult for sportswomen from my background, although some inspiring examples are emerging

How long do you think you will be doing this for?” my dad asked me last week. He was referring to my amateur competitive powerlifting, which involves lifting squat, bench and deadlift at the heaviest weight you can handle. “Until I die, or sustain an injury which means that I can’t lift again,” I replied. His arched eyebrows spoke volumes.

My parents have always been glad that I keep myself fit – my dad has been lifting weights most of his life, and is an avid cyclist. But they have no idea how to process why I’ve decided to take up what seems to them like a dangerous, overly masculine sport at the age of 38. On the one hand they are proud, but on the other hand their brains can’t compute that I can handle a 125kg deadlift or a 100kg squat, and my back hasn’t snapped in two yet. They’re also struggling – if they’re being honest – with the fact that my body has changed and become more muscular, and that I don’t seem to care or show no sign of stopping. Other people have commented on my physique: “You look great but don’t get any bigger” or “Wah! It’s the wrestler!” (Wrong sport, but I understood the sentiment).

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Joana Choumali wins 2019 Prix Prictet photography prize

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 10:00

Artist becomes first African to win the prestigious prize, for embroidered pictures created following terrorist attack

See a photo essay of the Prix Pictet 2019 shortlist

Joana Choumali, a 45-year-old photographer from Ivory Coast, has become the first African artist to win the Prix Pictet. The announcement was made this evening in a ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London for the opening of an exhibition of the 12 shortlisted artists.

The theme of the eighth Prix Pictet, a global award for photography and sustainability, was Hope. The jury, which included last year’s winner, Richard Mosse, praised Choumali’s “brilliantly original meditation on the ability of the human spirit to wrest hope and resilience from even the most traumatic events”.

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The female problem: how male bias in medical trials ruined women's health

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 07:08

Centuries of female exclusion has meant women’s diseases are often missed, misdiagnosed or remain a total mystery

From the earliest days of medicine, women have been considered inferior versions of men. In On the Generation of Animals, the Greek philosopher Aristotle characterised a female as a mutilated male, and this belief has persisted in western medical culture.

“For much of documented history, women have been excluded from medical and science knowledge production, so essentially we’ve ended up with a healthcare system, among other things in society, that has been made by men for men,” Dr Kate Young, a public health researcher at Monash University in Australia, tells me.

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Feminism is now used to sell almost everything - even breast implants | Yomi Adegoke

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 06:16

Body positivity, inclusivity and empowerment have been co-opted by the beauty and clothing industry to flog us yet more unnecessary products

Since feminism and body positivity has been appropriated by big brands to sell us more stuff, we have seen the “Dovification” of beauty and clothing campaigns. It is a trend that has led to a spike in what I am going to call oxymoronic advertising: companies boasting of body-positive shapewear, feminist high heels and empowering lingerie. The recent MYA cosmetic surgery advert is the logical outcome of this shift toward shoppable feminism.

The company’s latest “Every Body” advert would score full points in a game of “every advert aimed at women in 2019” bingo. Here’s the real woman making her first steps into fitness: here is a weightlifter, focused on being “strong instead of skinny”. Then there is the archetypal millennial, complete with tattoos and candyfloss hair. And, of course, the obligatory ethnic-minority woman. All are embracing their insecurities, within the limits that still allow MYA to peddle surgical fixes for all these things. The real kicker is when it is declared that “Sherrifa is a feminist and had a breast enlargement (you can do both)”. It feels as if MYA is trying to posit this as a political cause in itself.

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Half of new FTSE 100 chiefs must be women to hit gender target

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 14:01

Official review says step change in top appointments needed in 2020 at UK’s biggest listed firms

One in every two FTSE 100 executive appointments over the next year will have to go to a woman if the UK is to meet targets to tackle the gender imbalance across British business by 2020, a report has warned.

A “step change” at the UK’s biggest listed companies is needed if they are to hit a key metric where women make up at least a third of executive-level leadership teams by the end of next year.

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Instagram influencer used secret account to hit back at her critics

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 08:31

Clemmie Hooper, who is behind Mother of Daughters, says she wanted to change people’s views after reading comments about her family

The often relentless positivity of the world of social media influencers has turned toxic after Clemmie Hooper, the blogger behind the Mother of Daughters Instagram account, which has 660,000 followers, admitted to a secret life online in which she attacked rivals.

Hooper not only criticised other bloggers on the UK gossip forum Tattle.life under the name “Aliceinwanderlust”, but even called her own husband – also a popular influencer – a “class-A twat”.

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Let’s stop praising men who deign to date women almost their own age | Barbara Ellen

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 07:00
Sexual politics hasn’t really evolved much if Keanu Reeves is hailed as a feminist

Keanu Reeves comes across as a sweetheart, but I’m not sure he actually deserves a sainthood for dating artist Alexandra Grant, who, at 46, is still nine years younger than him.

Nevertheless, their recent appearance on the red carpet (Grant, elegant with natural grey hair) was hailed as refreshing, even groundbreaking. So it goes with the twisted maths of male-female age-appropriateness, especially in Hollywood – a man seen with anyone who isn’t half his age is hailed as a feminist god walking among us.

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If Nike really wants to empower women, start with athletes like Mary Cain | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 04:00

Enough with the expensive ads – try ensuring that no other young athlete has to suffer what Cain went through instead

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